“Seoul String Quartet”: This group, which led the Korean chamber music performances in the 1950s and ‘60s, will hold a concert on Dec. 18 to celebrate its comeback. The new members, star violinists Wayne Lin and Shin A-rah, violist Huang Hung-wei and cellist Park Sang-min, will play Mozart’s String Quartet No. 21, Smetana’s String Quartet No. 1 and Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 3. Lin, a former member of Juliard Orhestra and the Yale Philharmonic, currently leads the first fiddlers at the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. Shin, who recently finished a tour concert with Chung Myung-whun, is a winner of several international competitions for young musicians including the Sendai International Competition and the Poland Classic Competition. Tickets to the concert at the Seoul Arts Center, IBK Chamber Hall, will range from 30,000-50,000 won. For more information, call (02) 541-2512, or visit www.ticket.interpark.com.
Poster for Seoul String Quartet’s concert
“Chung Kyung-wha: ‘She is Back’”: Korea’s world-renowned violinist will perform on Dec. 19, 21, 25 and 26 in Seoul and other major Korean cities as her first solo recital in the country in nine years. Suffering a finger injury five years ago, Chung has not been able to hold a solo performance for years, focusing on her role as a teacher at the Juilliard School in New York. Chung will be performing with American pianist Kevin Kenner, whom she calls “a great partner,” playing Mozart’s “Violin Sonata No. 21 in E Minor K. 304,” Brahms’ “Violin Sonata No. 1 in G Major, Op 78 Regenlied,” Bach’s “Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major, Air on the G String” and Cesar Frank’s “Violin Sonata in A Major.” Tickets for Chung’s Seoul concert, to be held at the Seoul Arts Center on Dec. 26, range from 30,000 won to 150,000 won. The concert will also be held in Incheon, Daejeon and Chuncheon on Dec. 19, 21 and 25, respectively. For more information, call (02) 518-7343.
“Kumho Art Hall Chamber Music Concert”: Kumho Art Hall-representing ensembles ― the Chamber Music Society of Kumho Art Hall (CMS) and Kumho Asiana Soloists ― will perform on Dec. 8 and Dec. 29, respectively. The CMS, led by artistic director and pianist Kim Dae-jin, is to stage Brahms Piano Trio No. 1 in B major, Op. 8 and invite renowned American clarinetist Jon Manasse to collaborate on Brahms Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115. The CMS has been offering “Brahms Essentials” concert series since 2008 to cover the entire cycle of Brahms chamber music. Five members of the Kumho Asiana Soloists ― pianist Son Yeol-eum, violinist Kwun Hyuk-joo, violist Lee Han-na and cellist Kim Min-ji ― will gather on Dec. 29 evening to offer the art hall’s year-end stage with Ravel Sonata for Violin and Cello, Shostakovich String Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Op. 110 and Tchaikovsky Piano Trio in A minor, Op. 50, “In Memory of a Great Artist.” Tickets for chamber music concerts at the Kumho Art Hall are 30,000 won for adults and 8,000 won for those under 18. For details, call (02) 6303-7700.Pop Music
“Superstar K3 Top 11”: The top 11 contestants from season three of “Superstar K,” one of Korea’s first reality talent shows, will reunite for an end-of-year concert on Dec. 17 and 18. The performers include Kim Do-hyun, Busker Busker, Ullala Session, Christina and Chris. Tickets for the concert at the Olympic Park SK Olympic Handball Gymnasium will range from 66,000-88,000 won. For more information, call 1544-1555, or visit www.ticket.interpark.com.
“2AM: The Last Time”: The famous four-member boy band will hold a holiday concert on Dec. 24 and 25, reintroducing themselves to fans after a year-long hiatus. 2AM is one of the two subgroups that branched out from the 11-member One Day, produced by entertainment powerhouse JYP Entertainment. Tickets to the concert at the Jamsil Students’ Gymnasium, will range from 55,000-99,000 won. For more information, call 1544-1555, or visit www.ticket.interpark.com
Poster for 2AM holiday concert
“Joe Brooks: Acoustic Christmas Dream”: Britain’s 24-year-old singer-songwriter Joe Brooks will hold his first solo concert in Seoul on Dec. 19. Brooks has been regarded as one of the most fast-emerging singers in Britain with a loyal international following that exceeds 100,000 Facebook fans and responsible for nearly 20 Million plays on MySpace. The debut video for his signature single “Superman” received 1 million plays in just eight days and is currently at 4.5 million views overall. He is still enjoying high popularity in Korea since the release of his album “A Reason To Swim” here. Tickets for the concert, held at the V-Hall in Hongdae, are on sale at 66,000 won. For information, call (02) 6339-1232.
“Jang Pil-soon Live 2011”: Singer-songwriter Jang Pil-soon will hold a concert on Dec. 27 along with her long-time music colleagues Guitarist Han Choon-ho and bassist Kim Jung-ryul. The trio will be performing various folk, modern rock and electronic songs to show off the female vocalist’s powerful voice. Jang, considered a “goddess of folk songs” in Korea along with Han Young-ae, debuted in 1989. The concert will be held at the Sejong Center for Performing Arts. For information, call (02) 563-0595.Festivals
“Seoul Electronic Music Festival”: The second Seoul Electronic Music Festival will be held at Kintex, Ilsan, Gyeonggi Province, on Jan. 14. Headlining the show is renowned electro-funk duo Crystal Castles, whose music was made popular via the British TV series “Skins.” British trance music group Above & Beyond will also appear. The rest of the lineup consists of popular local bands such as the famed Idiotape, which appeared at the Global Gathering two years in a row and received a great deal of positive acclaim. Fore more information, call (02) 323-2838 or visit www.semf.co.kr.
“Countdown Fantasy 2011-2012”: The Countdown Fantasy festival will be held on Dec. 30 and 31 at the Ax-Korea in Seoul, joined by 22 teams including 10CM, Clazziquai, The Peter Pan Complex and Daybreak. The first such festival was held last year, joined by hundreds of indie-music fans. During the festival, artists will not only perform, but hold autograph events and award ceremonies to “come down from stage” and join the audience. For more information, visit www.mintpaper.com.
Poster for “Countdown Fantasy 2011-2012”
“The 106th Seoul Comic World”: An event for amateur cartoonists will be held in Seoul on Dec. 24-25, giving them the chance to exhibit and sell their creations to the visitors. The first event held in 1999, the Comic World has been growing into one of the most important events for the growing number of cartoonist-wannabes in Korea. For more information about the event held at the SETEC, southern Seoul, call (02) 3142-2137.
“High Light Festival 2012 Countdown”: The High light festival 2012 Countdown, an indoor hip hop and electronic music festival, will be held at Sheraton Grande Walkerhill’s Vista Hall and Walkerhill Theater on Dec. 31 from 10 p.m. through 4 a.m. next morning. Hip-hop group Far East Movement will be the headliner and other artists ― Sebastian, DJ Virman from Far East Movement, DJ Feadz, Justin Michael, Idiotape, Beat Burger and DJ Yup ― will also join the party. Reserved tickets are 132,000 won and 143,000 won at door. For details, call (02) 323-2838.Theater
“How Far Have You Come?”: Korea’s iconic folk diva Yang Hee-eun is once again on the musical stage with her veteran actress sister Yang Hee-Kyung, celebrating the 40th anniversary of her debut. The musical “How Far Have You Come?” delves into the life of Yang, following how she became who she is today. The show features C’est si bon, a famous music salon in Mugyo-dong, Seoul, in the 1970s, where Yang made her debut as a singer along with some of the most talented young musicians of her generation. Yang will perform about 30 of her hits, including “Morning Dew” and “Love, about its Loneliness” during the show. The show premiered at Arko Arts Theater in Daehangno back in July. The second run, currently at the National Museum of Korea, runs until Dec. 31. Tickets range from 50,000 won to 10,000 won. For more information, call 1666-8662,
A scene from the musical “How Far Have You Come?” (Rang)
“200 Pound Beauty”: Former girl group S.E.S. member Bada stars as an obese singer who turns into a beauty by receiving a series of plastic surgeries, in the musical adaptation of the famous 2006 romantic comedy film of the same title. The show, which was first premiered in local theaters in 2008, also started its Japanese tour in October. Telling the story of Han-byul, the former overweight lip-sync vocalist who becomes a popular singer after getting a plastic surgery-makeover, the show delves into the theme of self worth and universal desire for affection. KARA member Park Gyu-ri shares the role with Bada.
The show runs from Dec. 6 to Feb. 5 of next year at Chungmu Art Hall in Seoul. For tickets and information, call (02) 1544-1555.
“EVITA”: The Korean adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s famous musical chronicling the life of Eva Peron ― the second wife of Argentinean president Juan Peron ― is returning for its second edition. Musical actresses Jeong Seon-a and Lisa will share the role of Eva Peron, an ambitious woman who became one of the most influential figures in Argentina’s history. Born as an illegitimate child to a wealthy man and his mistress, Peron grew up in poverty as her father chose not to support her. She eventually turned herself into a famous actress and became the first lady of the nation after marrying a man who was 25 years her senior. Her husband and Argentinean president Juan Peron will be played by veteran actor Park Sang-won. The show runs from Dec. 9 to Jan. 29 of next year at LG Art Center in Seoul. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 130,000 won. For more information, call 1577-3363, or visit www.musicalevita.co.kr.
“Pick the Peak Up”: Production group White Out presents an exciting musical complimented with the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll this month. Titled “Pick the Peak Up,” the piece feels very much like a rock concert, while having the solid narrative of a group of university freshmen who’d like to form a rock band. The actors and actresses have spent a good five months mastering the guitar and keyboards, on top of vocal lessons. White Out is a production group founded by young graduates from the Korea University of Arts theater program. The show opened on Nov. 23 and runs until Dec. 31 at Sam Art Hall in Daehangno in Seoul. Tickets range from 20,000 won to 25,000 won. For more information, call (02) 745-0308.
“Hamlet”: Czech Republic’s rock superstar Janek Ledecky brings an exciting adaptation of the Shakespearean revenge tale to Seoul for the third time. The rock-star wrote the musical back in 1998, with no previous musical theater experience. It was a huge success in Prague and Bratislava, Slovakia, when it was first premiered in 1999, attracting some 10 million people over the next six years. The musical eventually made its way to Broadway in 2003, after a year-long adaptation process with Robert Johanson, a New-York based musical director. Its Korean edition first premiered in 2007, and made another hit in 2008. Its third run, which kicked off on Oct. 10, runs until Dec. 17 at the Universal Arts Center in Seoul. Tickets range from 40,000 won to 100,000 won. For tickets and information, call (02) 6391-6333 or visit www.musicalhamlet.com.
“Musical Winter Sonata”: Based on KBS’ 2002 mega hit drama series of the same name, “Musical Winter Sonata” is a heart-wrenching love story. Using the beautiful winter scenery of Chuncheon, Gangwon Province as a sentimental background, the show tells the story of two people unable to let go of their first loves. The TV version received an enthusiastic reception both home and abroad, especially in Japan. The musical is directed by Yoon Suk-ho, who directed the TV series, while Oh Eun-hee composed the music. The show runs until March 18 of next year, at Myungbo Art Hall in central Seoul. Tickets cost 50,000 won. For tickets and information, call (02) 1544-1555, or (070) 7019-6707.Exhibitions
“Reflection”: Artist Kwon Ki-soo, who is known for “dongguri,” a cartoon-like character with a round, smiling face, is holding a solo exhibition at Gallery Hyundai Gangnam in Sinsa-dong, southern Seoul. About 40 of his paintings, sculptures, media works and installations featuring dongguri, mainly his latest series titled “Reflection,” are on display. The exhibition runs through Dec. 31. For more information, call (02) 519-0800 or visit www.galleryhyundai.co.kr.
“Flaming Flowers” by Kwon Ki-soo (Gallery Hyundai)
“David LaChapelle in Seoul”: Celebrated photographer David LaChapelle’s most comprehensive solo exhibition in Asia is underway at Seoul Arts Center’s Hangaram Design Center in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. It features over 200 of his signature celebrity and fashion photos as well as his latest works that weigh more on purely artistic and critical values, but retain their wit and daring. The exhibition runs through Feb. 26. Tickets range from 6,000 won to 13,000 won. For more information, call (02) 566-0835 or visit www.dicseoul.com.
“The Masters”: Opera Gallery Seoul is showcasing 40 masterpieces by some of the greatest artists of recent times. The exhibition includes works by Claude Monet, Fernand Leger, Alexander Calder, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, Marc Chagall, Auguste Rodin, Georges Braque, Andy Warhol, Robert Indiana, Yves Klein, Keith Haring and Tom Wasselman. This is the first time that a high-profile exhibition is being held by the chain in Seoul while most of the Opera Gallery branches hold big-name exhibitions every year. The exhibition runs through Dec. 31. For more information, call (02)3446-0070 or visit www.operagallery.com.
“Tell Me Tell Me: Australian and Korean Art 1976-2011”: The National Museum of Contemporary Art in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province, is holding a cultural exchange exhibition with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. Taking the year 1976, when important Korean artists visited Australia with their works for the Biennale of Sydney, as the starting point, the exhibition introduces 130 works by key contemporary Korean and Australian artists. The exhibition runs through Feb. 19, 2012. Admission is 5,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2188-6114 or visit www.moca.go.kr.
“Body Worlds & The Cycle of Life”: The exhibition shows the complexity, resilience, and vulnerability of the human body by displaying more than 200 pieces of plastinated human bodies. Divided into four sections, the show presents the human life cycle and aging ― from prenatal development to old age ― by displaying a remarkable collection ranging from plastinated embryos to findings on geographic clusters around the world where the oldest living people live. The exhibition is held as open run at The War Memorial of Korea in Yongsan-dong, central Seoul. Tickets range from 6,000 won to 15,000 won. For more information, call (02) 541-6235 or visit www.bodyworlds.kr.
“The Court Painters of Joseon Dynasty”: In celebration of its seventh anniversary, Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art in Hannam-dong, central Seoul, brought together 110 paintings by “hwawon,” or court painters of the Joseon Dynasty. It showcases works by master painters like Kim Hong-do, Jang Seung-eop, Shin Yun-bok and Kim Deuk-sin, who are well-known among the Korean public due to their immense influence. It runs through Jan. 29. Tickets range from 4,000 won to 7,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2014-6900 or visit www.leeum.org.Dance
“The Nutcracker”: Korea National Ballet and Universal Ballet Company together present the Christmas season favorite “The Nutcracker.” UBC’s “The Nutcracker” runs from Dec. 21 to 31 at Universal Art Center in Neung-dong, eastern Seoul. Tickets range from 10,000-100,000 won. For tickets, call 1544-1555 or visit www.uac.co.kr. KNB’s show runs from Dec. 16-25 at Seoul Arts Center. Tickets range from 5,000 won to 90,000 won. For more information, call (02) 587-6181 or visit www.kballet.org.
A scene from Korea National Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” (KNB)
“Dance Spirit Project”: Led by South Korean choreographer Park Neongkul, seven modern dancers whose ages range from their teens to their 50s, take part in the Dance Spirit Project together. The dancers include b-boy turned modern dancer Shim Jae-ho and acclaimed choreographer Nam Young-ho, who works in both Korea and France. Dancing to K-pop music, the dancers will tell their lives and dance spirits on stage. It will run from Dec. 16 to 17 at LIG Art Hall in Yeoksam-dong, southern Seoul. Admission is 20,000 won. For more information, call (02) 6900-3912 or visit www.ligarthall.com.
“The Blood in Horses’ Eyes”: Korea National Contemporary Dance Company presents “The Blood in Horses’ Eyes” based on English writer Peter Shaffer’s “Equus.” Premiered in 1999, the show is famous for the dancers’ realistic depiction of the horses’ movements. It runs through Dec. 10 at Baek Seonghui & Jang Minho Theater in Seogye-dong, central Seoul. Admission is 10,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3472-1422 or visit www.kncdc.co.kr.
“Miso”: Translated as “beautiful smile,” this musical offers a compact presentation of everything Korean culture first-timers could wish for. It blends ten different kinds of traditional dances, five traditional games and a wedding ritual into the storyline based on a well-known folktale, “The Tale of Chunhyang.” There are very few spoken lines throughout the performance, making it ideal for audiences of diverse nationalities. “Miso” is showing as an open run at Chongdong Theater in Jeong-dong, central Seoul. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 50,000 won. For more information, call (02) 751-1500 or visit www.koreamiso.com.